Editor’s note: The request of the city planning commission is to formulate conditional use parameters on ANY commercial business in commercial land use zones. Those conditions are NOT aimed strictly at the Fishpeople Seafood proposal.
Toledo may soon have a gourmet fish dinner preparation and packaging operation based inside the old Toledo Fire Hall atop Business 20, just uphill from JC Market. The council decided Wednesday evening to make sure the plant’s operating parameters are clearly outlined and enforceable. Readers may recall the nightmare caused by the last fish processing outfit that occupied a building just down the other side of the hill, which drove the neighbors half-crazy with the smell and fish oil run off that came down their neighborhood streets.
Project sponsor Port of Toledo has assured the city council that their prospective tenant, Fishpeople Seafood, would be ideal for the site since it is a proven winner in the marketplace, processing and shipping gourmet pre-packaged meals from Alaska to Central California. And they have a very good reputation in areas where they already have facilities.
Port of Toledo General Manager Bud Shoemake says Fishpeople Seafood already ships product to 525 stores throughout the west and are still growing. Around this part of Oregon, Shoemake says it’ll be mostly tuna that will be pre-gutted and bled in Newport before it’s transported to Toledo for preparation and shipping. And thirteen full time jobs are promised.
But again, old fish processing nightmares die hard and so the council wanted to make sure that there would be sufficient restrictions on the operations and that their impact on the immediate neighborhood would be minimal. Shoemake says their port offices are right on the other side of the wall, so you couldn’t have closer supervision on the operation. Shoemake says Fishpeople Seafood has a platinum reputation in the industry.
With that the council voted 3 to 2 (with Mayor Grutzmacher and Councilor Jill Lyon voting no) to order the city planning commission to consider what restrictions should be applied to such an operation and to get back to the council with those recommendations ASAP. It seems that Shoemake and crew would like to have the operation up and running by this summer to coincide with this season’s tuna harvest.
In other council doings, the council counted up 15% of its liquor and cigarette taxes it gets from the state and divided up those 8,000 dollars among various local social services groups for the fiscal year ahead. One thousand dollars were awarded to five organizations – Toledo Food Share Pantry, Council of Government’s Meals on Wheels, Samaritan Senior Companion Program, Children’s Advocacy Center of Lincoln County and CASA of Lincoln County. $900 was awarded to Shangri-la, $800 to My Sister’s Place, $700 to Central Coast Child Development Center and $600 to RSVP of Lincoln County.